LOVE LETTERS Comes to Alhambra
Having grown up in the Alhambra Theatre, Jessica Booth has played in just about every role from a child performer in Christmas Carole to leading lady as Jovi in Elf...the Musical. Now she takes on an entirely new role, as Director of the acclaimed Broadway hit, Love Letters. To make it just a little more challenging (or perhaps interesting), Ms. Booth will be directing her parents, Lisa Valdini-Booth and Tod Booth. Mrs. Booth has been in more than 200 Alhambra performances and was once knowing widely as the "voice of Winn-Dixie Supermarkets," and Mr. Booth is the Alhambra's former owner and current Creative Director, himself having directed more than 200 shows at the iconic theater.
A play by A. R. Gurney Love Letters was a finalist in 1988 for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The play centers on two characters, Melissa Gardner and Andrew Makepeace Ladd III, who sit side by side at tables and read the notes, letters and cards - in which over nearly 50 years, they discuss their hopes and ambitions, dreams and disappointments, victories and defeats - that have passed between them throughout their separated lives.
Since its debut on Broadway in 1988, Love Letters has been performed by a who's who of celebrities including, Carol Burnett with Brian Dennehy, Mel Gibson with Sissy Spacek, Robert Wagner with wife Stefanie Powers, Larry Hagman and Dallas co-star Linda Gray and in 2006 with I Dream of Jeannie co-star and Alhambra alumna Barbara Eden. In 2013 Ali McGraw performed beside Love Story co-star Ryan O'Neal and in 2016, Tom Hanks performed with wife, Rita Wilson. Even Elizabeth Taylor took a turn, with James Earl Jones in 2007.
Said Managing Partner, Craig Smith, "Amazingly, the Alhambra has never shown Love Letters, and it's only appropriate that we do so with our very own stars, Lisa and Tod." Smith noted, commenting that the Alhambra is really in the business of creating memories, "Having Jessica direct her parents in her leadership debut is really monumental for the Alhambra family and for the Booth family. That girl was pretty much raised under this roof. Not many families get to celebrate such moments."
Said actor-turned director Jessica Booth, laughing, "This experience could be really fun or really vengeful, or perhaps a little bit of both, depending on your point of view." She went on, "I really think directing my parents will be a great way to get feedback on my first directing opportunity. I've seen both of them work on stage and behind it, and I know I've learned from the best. The bar is quite high, and I also know they won't at all sugar-coat their feedback. Why start now, right?"
The Alhambra is offering a special pricing package in honor of this Booth family moment, two tickets for just $89. Pricing includes a three-course dinner, the show and parking. Often following a show, the cast will make an appearance in the main lobby for an informal meet and greet.
Love Letters will be on stage from January 9, 2020 through February 9, 2020. The Alhambra Theatre & Dining is located at 12000 Beach Blvd, Jacksonville, FL. Alhambra tickets start at just $40 and include a three-course meal that changes for each show, a Broadway-style performance and complimentary parking. Tickets can be purchases on line at www.alhambrajax.com or by calling 904.641.1212.